InterviewPetrobras to build four ammonia, urea plants in Brazil

03 May 2011 23:17  [Source: ICIS news]

By Ryan Hickman

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Petrobras’s plan to construct four ammonia and urea plants will provide the Brazillian state-run company with flexibility in monetising its offshore, pre-salt natural gas reserves as well as ushering in self-sufficiency for both commodities, a top executive said Tuesday.

Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, Petrobras president and CEO, said the production of associated natural gas from Brazil’s Atlantic Ocean pre-salt fields can be produced into ammonia and urea, which then can be stored as liquids as opposed to the uneconomic means of keeping natural gas, which deteriorates at a quicker rate.

“More importantly, you can store the urea and ammonia to give you flexibility that you cannot get with natural gas,” Gabrielli said.

Independent reserve estimates for the Santos and Campos basins put the combined total around 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Gabrielli said that three of the fertilizer plants would move forward as greenfield sites, while the fourth would be an expansion of an existing facility in the northern part of the country. He did not provide a timescale for the projects.

Petrobras announced plans in March to build a 519,000 tonne/year ammonia plant in the state of Minas Gerais. 

Those reserves also will provide Brazil ammonia and urea sovereignty after 2015, when pre-salt fields are expected to reach commercial operation, Gabrielli said.

Last week, Petrobras said development of the Santos basin reserves would cost $73bn (€49bn),  and that it would provide 74% of the total.

For more information on Petrobras, visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Ryan Hickman
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